Yesterday we had several posts about François Ozon’s film adaption of Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel, mostly inspired by the casting of Romola Garai as Angel Deverell and Michael Fassbender as her husband, Esmé Howe-Nevinson. Also inspired was our production manager, who created this fine alternate cover for the book. And yes, that is Michael Fassbender as Esmé. Would you buy it?
Earlier today we shared some images from François Ozon’s adaptation of Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel. Here we share some more photos of Michael Fassbender in the role of Esmé Newe-Howinson, husband of Angel Deverell, played by Romola Garai. We didn’t want to show these images at first because we didn’t want to distract you. We’ve changed our mind, get distracted.
— François Ozon directed an adaptation of Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel in 2007 staring Romola Garai as Angel Deverell and Michael Fassbender as Esmé Howe-Nevinson. Esme is a failed painter and playboy who the successful novelist Angel asks to paint her (image 1), and of course, things progress (image 2). Here’s the scene of their meeting:
’It was Miss Deverell, you know, Esmé, said Lord Norely, ‘who gave us the Watts.’
’Most generous,’ his nephew murmured.
’Presented a very fine Watts to the Norely Art Gallery,’ Lord Norely explained to Theo [Angel’s publisher]. ‘You ought to make a point of seeing it. One of the Town’s treasures. Miss Deverell herself is another.’
Angel was dreamy with so much adulation. It was a perfect afternoon that could offer such riches and offer them in front of Theo and Hermione [his wife]. Hermione thought that she looked indecently sated: as if her self-infatuation demanded no more for a while: she was exquisitely at peace.
Then—so very soon—she was jolted from her trance. Esmé Howe-Nevinson handed round sandwiches, put a whole one in his mouth and settled down to a long study of Angel: he seemed to be regarding her with fascinated curiousity, with a lively, dancing look, unlike his sister’s spaniel gaze. Angel was conscious of it and felt uneasy. As she poured out a cup of tea, her hands were clumsy; the smallest action she was obliged to make became an ordeal.
’Why Watts?’ Esmé suddenly asked, still looking intently at her.
’I don’t understand,’ she said suspiciously.
’I meant, why did you choose Watts, of all painters? Or didn’t you choose? Perhaps it was the Town Council or some such set of ignorant old duffers.’
’I won’t allow that,’ said Lord Norely. ‘They’re a fine body of men and not one of them a ha’p’orth better off for all their trouble.’
’You don’t approve of Watts?’ Angel asked Esmé. ‘I will take full responsibility. My choice, my money, my ignorance.’
’And I asked why?’
’Watts is too famous a painter to need an ignorant writer to justify him.’
’I consider you rather discourteous, Esmé,’ said Lord Norely.
’And so do I,’ said Nora [his sister] passionately.
’I don’t mean to be. I had often wondered how those appalling pictures get into the provincial art galleries and here was my chance to find out. Forgive me, Miss Deverell, if I seemed to you to be rude. It must have been such a very expensive painting and so soon will be worth nothing. I regretted the waste of money.’